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Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards for Undergraduate Students

Academic progress for students receiving Vanderbilt University (institutional) need-based and/or federal Title IV financial assistance will be reviewed at the end of each academic term. Students must be meeting progress standards as defined by the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships. These standards may be stricter than those defined in the academic standards applied by each of the individual undergraduate schools.  

Institutional need-based aid assistance, including Vanderbilt need-based grants and scholarships, and federal Title IV financial aid are awarded for the academic year as determined by eligibility criteria for each financial aid program. Renewal and continuation of awards will be contingent upon maintaining satisfactory academic progress (SAP) including obtaining a minimum grade point average outlined below. The undergraduate SAP requirements below are separate from the academic standards required of all undergraduate students.We realistically anticipate that the level of academic performance for each student will be higher than the minimum SAP required cumulative GPA for renewal of Vanderbilt and federal financial aid programs. Students must successfully complete at least 2/3 (67%) of all credit hours attempted (Completed Hours / Attempted Hours = Completion Rate). Credit hours attempted include withdrawals, incompletes, missing grades, etc. Students must also complete their degree requirements within 150% of the length of your academic program. As an example; Arts and Science degrees require 120 completed credit hours, meaning the maximum timeframe is 180 attempted credit hours. Please refer to your Vanderbilt catalog for your specific degree requirements.   

                        Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards
Grade Level
Cumulative GPA
Required earned credit hours
Senior: Blair and Engineering
Senior: Peabody and A & S
All recipients who enroll full-time are expected to earn a minimum of 12 credits per semester.
Note: A reported grade of I or M is calculated as a zero grade point. The student is responsible for notifying the Office of Student Financial Aid if an earned grade is later received. Credit hours for a reported W are included in Attempted Hours.

SAP Terminology

Financial Aid Warning

For students who are making satisfactory progress, the award commitment for the subsequent year will normally be made for the entire academic year. For students who fail to complete the required credit hours within the specified time frame and/or who fail to maintain the minimum GPA, the student will receive a Warning and the financial aid commitment will be made for one subsequent semester only. Further review will be undertaken at the end of that semester. If the student fails to complete the required credit hours and/or fails to maintain the minimum GPA within the subsequent semester institutional and/or federal financial aid will be Suspended.  

Appeal Procedures

Any student whose institutional and/or federal Title IV student aid is Suspended due to unsatisfactory academic progress may submit an appeal for reinstatement of such assistance to the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships.

The appeal for reinstatement should include the following elements:

  • An explanation of extenuating circumstances, such as injury, illness, death of a relative, or other special circumstance as to why you failed to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements.
  • An explanation of what has changed that will now allow you to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress at the end of the next semester.
  • Include supporting documentation from medical doctors, advisors, psychologists, etc., to verify the information you are including in your personal statement. Failure to provide information may result in your appeal being denied.

The student will be notified of the appeal approval or denial and if eligibility for institutional and/or federal financial aid funds will be reinstated for one additional semester on a Probationary basis.

Financial Aid Probation

At the end of a Probationary semester, students must then meet Satisfactory Academic Progress for continued eligibility of financial assistance. If a student fails to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress all institutional and/or federal Title IV financial aid will be Suspended. A student may make a subsequent appeal (see Appeals above) for continuation of such assistance to the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships. A student’s submitted appeal after a Probation status will be reviewed by an Institutional Appeal Committee. If it is determined that the student’s failure to meet academic progress was the result of illness, death in the family, or other exceptional or mitigating circumstances, those factors will be considered in determining whether or not eligibility for federal and/or institutional student aid funds can be reinstated for one or more semester(s) while following a prescribed Academic Plan as defined by the Institutional Appeal Committee.

Academic Plan

Students must meet the standards set forth in an Academic Plan that has been established to ensure that satisfactory academic progress will be met by a specific point in time in order to continue receiving institutional and/or federal Title IV financial assistance. Students who fail to earn the minimum credit hours and GPA specified in their established Academic Plan will have all financial assistance Suspended until the academic deficiency is corrected.

Reinstatement of Institutional and/or Federal Title IV Assistance

If students fail to progress as outlined above, they will be notified that they are no longer eligible to receive further aid.  Students may seek reinstatement of institutional and/or federal aid funds in any following/subsequent semester after demonstrating progress towards earning their degree by improving their cumulative GPA and/or credit hour completion rate thereby  meeting the minimum SAP requirements. It will be the responsibility of the student to contact the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships to request the reinstatement of his/her institutional and/or federal assistance and complete the necessary application requirements to determine eligibility.

Maximum Aid Eligibility

Vanderbilt University (institutional) need-based assistance: A maximum time frame of four years (eight semesters or its equivalent) of full-time enrollment is established for attainment of their baccalaureate degree when determining eligibility for the receipt of institutional financial aid. Terms enrolled and credits earned at prior colleges/universities and accepted toward the student's undergraduate degree may be counted toward the maximum time frame for Vanderbilt financial assistance.

Federal Title IV assistance: A maximum time frame of 150% of the required credit hours to receive a degree or six years (twelve semesters or its equivalent) of full-time enrollment is established for attainment of the baccalaureate degree when determining eligibility for the receipt of funds through federal Title IV student financial aid programs. Credit hours earned at prior colleges/universities and accepted by Vanderbilt University will be included in the quantitative evaluation and maximum time frame evaluation.